What started as smooth sailing for the Army Black Knights (5-2) in the first half ended in a literally second-by-second fight in double overtime against Miami (Ohio) (3-5, 3-1 MAC).
While some could argue the Back Knights would have been questionable with Kelvin Hopkin Jr. on the sidelines, Sophomore Cam Thomas, stepped up to the plate in his first career start. Army’s passing game took a back seat this Saturday afternoon as Thomas was privy to running up the middle inching along, allowing Darnell Woolfolk to grab 2 yards in the end zone giving Army the first touchdown of the first quarter. Woolfolk averaged 3.3 yards per carry against San Jose State, last week. The Black Knights kept the ball close on Saturday with 22:03 on possession in comparison to Miami’s 7:01.
Miami was almost nowhere to be found until literally 2 seconds left in the half when Brad Koenig forced a stop for the Black Knights on 4th and goal from the 1. The RedHawks went into the second half with a bit of momentum, again thanks to Koenig, who’s massive coverage resulted in a career-high 23 tackles.
Army opened the second half slow with a fumble for the first time 385 carries on the first play and that seemed to quiet down the Black Knights for a majority of the third quarter. Ragland finally was given the time and space he needed to perform, who came out with 329 yards and 4 TDs. Koenig came back again in the second half stopping a potential TD and 1st down by Cam Thomas.
Cam Thomas set up the foundation to get back that potential 6 points with a 52-yard run and then forcing a 1-yard TD run, his second of the season, ending the third quarter with 21-7. Thomas’ last drive left him with 128 rushing yards on 19 carries. Army needed to put the pressure on QB Rus Ragland, who struggled to throw the ball missing a few key opportunities with Kenny Young in the third quarter and twice during the fourth to Maurice Thomas and Dominique Robinson.
With 4:23 left in the 4th, Miami puts points on the board with Ragland finally taking advantage of the height of his guys on the outside. After a series of questionable passes, Dominique Robinson (6’4’’, 240) takes it home with a 3-yard catch from Ragland catch nearing the gap with Miami - 14 , Army - 21.
Black Knights won coin toss, starting OT on defense. Ragland made the first down but Army defense forced him to throw the ball away. Elijah Riley was in an ideal position in the end zone and blocked a potential TD forcing Miami’s Sam Sloman into a 33-yard field goal, giving them three points.
On 3rd and 12 at 15, Army delayed the game losing 5 yards, the first penalty for the Black Knights all afternoon. Army made it’s only second pass attempt of the day missing the catch and forcing a 37-yard FG, a career kick for John Abercrombie forcing the game into double overtime with a tie, 24-24.
After a personal foul on Bart Barratti for a face mask on Kell Walker, Army started with a first down. With a leg up, the Black Knights use that momentum and Darnell Woolfolk literally hops to the end zone for a TD. After the kick, Army is up 31, Miami - 24.
After a run by Kenny Young, Ragland goes down twice, first by Elijah Riley and then by Cameron Jones. At 4th and 10 Miami remains gutsy but time on the clock runs out pushing them back another 5 yards. The RedHawks go for a TD attempt but Ragland couldn’t find a receiver before he threw the ball. It’s caught by none other than Kenny Young who goes for two before being stopped by Elijah Riley at the 2-yard line closing out a momentous second half and a win for the Black Knights, Army - 31, Miami - 30.
This victory makes for 10-straight home wins for Army and 7-0 in OT in Michie.